Stefan Mitrea : « SuperLiga to expand to 8 teams in 2017 »

After a 2016 year full of events, SuperLiga director of competition Stefan Mitrea answered every questions about the Romanian championship. Present, past, future, he answered us on many questions.

Because of moving Super Liga to September-May season, Romanian Cup and King’s Cup took a big part of the year. What assessment could you make of these competitions ?

The Romanian Cup is a tradition in the country, the competition started in 1914. It’s a big competition clubs want to win, there’s usually big clashes. The King’s Cup is born from a partnership with the Royal House. It’s a chance for young guns to play with their first team while the national team is playing. Both competition were a popular success especially in Steaua and Dinamo where the traditions are very strong. Baia Mare and Timisoara also attracted a lot of spectators.

So the King’s Cup wasn’t one-shot ?

Absolutely not. We had a good feedback from the Royal House, from the sponsors, from the clubs. If the board agrees, the competition will take place in July 2017.

SuperLiga current season will end in May, but when will the next one start ?

SuperLiga 2017-18 should start in August. The board need to agree about the schedule in January. The Romanian Cup should be played in October.

What is the financial state of the SuperLiga ? Was it hard to bounce back after Farul Constanta’s collapse ? 

It’s going up. Dinamo Bucharest, Poli Iasi and Cluj still have issues, but with some work in media relations, with local parties, they can fix it. Farul’s bankruptcy was really hard. A lot of good people were working there. It was a huge loss. Farul was an excellent team with a lot of national team players. They had money and big tradition. All Constanta area has a really big rugby tradition. Now we saw Navodari is leading in the second level, Tomitanii in the third. We hope they can come back to the top.

What is the current situation of the SuperLiga with TV broadcast ?

The Romanian Rugby Union hold the rights of the SuperLiga. It’s more about promoting rugby than a financial issue. We need to promote rugby on TV. We have a contract with Dolce Network. Dolce’s broadcast is very good and professional. It’s a big step forward for rugby in Romania.

« We need to fix the financial issues in Dinamo, Cluj and Iasi »

What do you think about the stadiums of SuperLiga ?

Baia Mare had some renovations, Timisoara is playing in a big stadium, unfortunately, they can’t fill it with spectators. Steaua stadium is getting older. There is plans to rebuild Steaua and Dinamo stadiums. CS Dinamo opened a new complex for swimming and indoor sports in 2013, so we hope a new rugby stadium soon. New stadiums will be built in Bucharest for UEFA Euro 2020. Rugby should benefit from this. CSM Bucharest have very good facilities with the best grass in Bucharest.

What are the priorities in SuperLiga now ?

First, we need to fix the financial issues in Dinamo, Cluj and Iasi. Then, the clubs need to grow more Romanian players. The number of foreign players allowed by team will be a huge debate in the next FRR meetings.

Do you plan expansion for next season ? What could you say about rumors of expansion in Moldova ?

There will be an eighth team. If Navodari win the Divizia Nationala, they will be promoted in SuperLiga. We were very happy to see Poli Iasi performing so well in its first season. We expect the same from Navodari. There is a lot of Moldovan players in Romania, especially in Divizia Nationala. A Moldovan expansion would be really interesting for the league but it won’t happen next season. We had plans with Ukraine a couple of years ago. There were talks with Rugby Europe for a competition with Ukraine, Georgia and Russia. But now, the political situation stopped everything. Anyway, Odessa would be an interesting venue.

Would you be for a second Romanian team in EPCR competitions ?

We would really like to have a second team in the qualifying competition. We’ll see Timisoara performance in the playoff but a second team would be great for the SuperLiga.

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